Friday, September 17, 2010

Learning about food in an urban setting

As a kid I had the joy and pleasure for many summers in a row to have a so called 'school garden' a plot of land perhaps 3m long by 50 cm wide. This plot was part of a very large public garden system, where Mr. and Mrs. Brun, an older retired couple took care of us and taught us some of the ins and outs of food production on a smaller scale.

This sunflower is in my nephew Jonathan's garden plot. He has a plot in a different part of town than I did, but never the less, when you enter through the gate the whole idea is the same.

A couple of weeks ago Jonathan's class were all going to visit this public garden, am not sure if they all have a plot, but off we went. Two classes went, about 50 kids in all with 5 adults. We waited for first one bus, got off after about 5 stops, caught another bus for ten stops and then it was a two minute walk a day of talking about food, cooking and eating before we headed for the busses to go back at the end of the school day.

The kids had each been given a fruit, herb, root, green which they were to research and present to the whole class. My nephew Jonathan had been given the subject of ginger as his project and had to find a piece in the communal food box and then give a short presentation on the subject. As each student presented their 'food', things were added to the board by the garden teacher.

Different vegetable were picked or dug around the gardens, like this zuchini and the jerusalem artichokes

Pepper was ground

And copious amounts of other vegetable were chopped, carrots, celery, peppers, squash, garlic, leeks, onions and also a pile of herbs had been harvested and was added to the two woks which were used.

The kids had good day, they were of course eager to play rather than learn, but some learning did take place and afterwards they had an hour or so before we jumped on the public transportation and went back to the school.

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